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11th March 2008
Minutes of the Meeting of Strabane District Council held in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, 47 Derry Road, Strabane on Tuesday 11 March 2008 at 7.30p.m.
Present: - In the Chair: Councillor G Foley
Other Members: Councillors I Barr, A Bresland, J Donnell, J Emery, D Hussey, T Kerrigan, C McGill, K McGuire, C McHugh, B McMahon, E McMenamin, J McNulty, J O’Kane
Total = 14
In Attendance: Clerk & Chief Executive,
Business Manager, Administrative Officer
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane to send a letter of sympathy to the family of the late Freddie Boggs, a former Strabane Urban Councillor.
The Minutes of the Special Council Meeting held on Tuesday 5 February 2008 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor McNulty seconded by Councillor O Kane and signed by the Chairman.
Matters Arising from Minutes
Page 1 – Post Office
Councillor Barr noted that there had been a recent report that a Council in England was taking over a post office in its area.
The Minutes of the Special Council Meeting held on Tuesday 12 February 2008 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor McHugh seconded by Councillor McNulty and signed by the Chairman.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on Tuesday 12 February 2008 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor McMenamin seconded by Councillor McHugh and signed by the Chairman.
Matters Arising from Minutes
Page 3 – Lifford Road Lay-by
In response to Councillor McMenamin, the Chief Executive (CE) said that the Chief Building Control Officer (CBCO) would report back on the issue. He noted that contact had been made with Roads Service and the PSNI and he said Council would continue to look into the matter.
Page 3 – EI Scheme (HEART)
In response to Councillor Emery, the CE said that the Chief Technical Services Officer (CTSO) would report back regarding the installation of bollards at the Castle site, Castlederg.
Councillor Hussey joined the meeting at 7.35pm.
Page 3 – Pedestrian Bridges
In response to Councillor McNulty, the CE said that an appeal had been made but that there had been no further response. He noted that he was soon to meet with SEUPB and that he would raise the issue with them.
Councillor McNulty noted that he had raised the issue, given Donegal County Council’s Shared Spaces application.
Page 6 – Town Centre Manager
In response to Councillor Barr, the CE said that a written response had not yet been received from the Strabane Chamber of Commerce (SCOC) but that he was aware that the proposal had been welcomed verbally.
Councillor McGuire joined the meeting at 7.40pm.
Page 7 - CCTV
Councillor McNulty referred to radio coverage on the issue of CCTV earlier that day and noted that initially, following various discussions, it had been recommended to seek clarification from the SCOC regarding their financial input. He noted that a response on that matter was still awaited.
Councillor Barr said that he had listened to the debates on radio. He recalled that initially the issue had been raised by the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) to ascertain Council’s position on CCTV and it had been that enquiry, which had prompted the initial debate. He agreed with Councillor McNulty that the SCOC was to respond with an indication of their commitment to the project. He proposed that, in order to progress the issue, a meeting or seminar involving all local stakeholders could be held to finally make a decision on the matter, one way or the other.
The CE noted that there may be an option for undertaking this through CSP, as the matter incorporated safety issues.
Councillor McMenamin seconded the proposal. He felt that the issue had been talked about for too long and that a decision one way of the other was now needed. He felt that a round table discussion with stakeholders would be the way forward. He said that he had always been an advocate of CCTV.
Councillor O’Kane felt that CCTV was very important, if it protected the public from attacks. He referred to previous presentations to Council on the issue and noted the huge monitoring costs involved in such a scheme.
Councillor Kerrigan referred to a previous presentation by Omagh Safer Streets and felt that it would be worthwhile to invite the group to meet Council again, to establish further information and their willingness to be involved in a partnership scheme. He noted the high costs involved in monitoring CCTV.
Councillor Donnell referred to Council’s decision not to apply for the previous funding and felt that a decision was needed and all issues put in place, should funding again become available.
Councillor Hussey felt that the capital funding for this project was achievable but noted that the revenue funding was a major issue, given the high costs of monitoring CCTV. He noted that the technology would also be available for this to be a district wide scheme. He said that CCTV would be another tool for preventing anti social behaviour in our area.
Councillor McNulty felt that it should be emphasised that, despite CCTV being a useful tool in overall crime prevention, it would not totally eradicate crime. He noted that, given the Council had a large rural network, there would be major financial implications.
It was agreed to hold a meeting/seminar through CSP, to include all stakeholders and to invite Omagh Safer Streets to revisit Council with an update, in advance of any seminar.
Page 13 - RPA
In response to Councillor Emery, the CE said that there had been no further update. He noted that there were 2 conferences on RPA during the forthcoming week.
The Minutes of the Economic Development Committee Meeting held on Monday 18 February 2008 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor McHugh seconded by Councillor O’Kane.
Matters Arising from Minutes
Page 2 – Clustering EU Funding
Councillor McMahon referred to Council’s nominations of 4 representatives i.e. one from each of the main parties, but noted that Derry City Council had since agreed on using the D’Hondt system.
The CE said that a Peace III meeting was scheduled to take place on 13 March 2008. He noted that Strabane District Council, in addition to other Councils had made decisions based on the information available at that time and it may mean the matter being brought back into those Council Chambers, through rescinding motions.
A discussion ensued regarding the possible ratification of the minutes with the exception of that section until it was noted that the minutes had already been ratified, as above, prior to the commencement of the discussion under matters arising.
The CE noted that therefore, the ratified minutes would stand until such time as clarification was sought and any appropriate further action taken. He noted that there would be an imbalance if some Councils were to use the D’Hondt system for nominations.
In response to Councillor McMenamin, the CE said that substitute Members would be difficult, given the level of knowledge that would be provided on an ongoing basis.
It was agreed that information packs from the workshop held on 10 March be distributed to the Councillors who were not in attendance.
The Minutes of the Corporate and Regulatory Services Committee held on Tuesday 19 February 2008 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor McHugh seconded by Councillor McNulty.
Matters Arising from Minutes
Page 4 – Charlotte House Closing Order
Councillor Hussey asked that a separate and recorded vote be taken on the adoption of this section of the minutes. He believed that, should the matter be accepted by the adoption of the minutes, a legal challenge would be initiated. He referred to a previous decision for all Councillors to obtain a copy of the monitoring reports on request, and he felt that all Members should have full relevant information on the issue prior to a decision being taken.
Councillor McHugh felt that the issue had been debated at a number of meetings and Members also had the opportunity of obtaining additional information on request, if they so wished. He felt that should the owners of the premises feel that a legal challenge was necessary, it would be up to Council officials to stand over their monitoring reports. He felt that decisions had been taken with full knowledge of the matter. He added that Council officials, unlike Members, had the professional expertise in this regard. He noted that he had been approached by a radio station regarding the issue but had refused to be interviewed as he felt that there was an attempt to use it as a community issue in Castlederg.
Councillor Barr felt that consistency was a key issue. He outlined the process to date and the steps taken by Officers and Council, including the invitation to make representation to Council. He felt confident that all relevant steps had been taken and that the information and subsequent recommendation provided by the professionally qualified Officers, had been met.
The Chairman, at this point, clarified that in fact the minutes had already been adopted as above, prior to the commencement of the discussion under matters arising. Therefore the decisions incorporated in those minutes had also been ratified.
Councillors Hussey and Kerrigan recorded their objections to the adoption of the minutes.
The Minutes of the Culture, Arts & Leisure Committee Meeting held on Monday 25 February 2008 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane seconded by Councillor McMahon.
The Minutes of the Environment Committee Meeting held on Tuesday 26 February 2008 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane seconded by Councillor McGuire.
Matters Arising from Minutes
Page 3 – PPS14
In response to Councillor McGill, the CE noted that the meeting to discuss a joint response with other Councils had been cancelled, due to lack of participants. He said that he would check with the Corporate Policy Officer on Council’s own response.
Page 5 – Advertising Panels on Council Vehicles
In response to Councillor McMahon, the CE said that it would be hoped to have the advertising panels in place within the next few months.
Councillor McHugh declared an interest as a relative of Laura McSorley, the entry chosen from the school competition.
A letter from the Roads Service relating to various issues including loading bays and parking at Upper Main Street, Strabane had been previously circulated for Members’ attention.
Councillor Hussey said that the work at Killeter Road should include from Ferguson Crescent to St. Eugene’s School and not Derg View as stated in their letter. He felt that this would incorporate Castleview Terrace, where many of the potholes were located. He also referred to the realignment of the bridge at the end of Castleview Terrace, which had been raised as an issue over a number of years.
The issues relating to Loading Bays and the Upper Main Street Car Park were agreed.
In response to queries from Councillors Donnell and McNulty, the Business Manager (BM) clarified that Roads Service could not guarantee that an increase in pay and display spaces at this car park or any other free car parks in Strabane would not occur, in future years. She noted however that consultation with Council would take place should that be their intention.
Councillor O’Kane noted the inconvenience of cars parked along the water wall at the Lower Main Street car park.
Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide and Self-harm (PIPS)
Correspondence from PIPS Strabane, relating to a funding request had been distributed for Members’ attention.
The CE noted that the group had met with the WHSSB Community Response Cluster group. He added that the recommendation from the cluster group, was that a dilution of services within Strabane would not be beneficial.
It was agreed to defer any decision on their financial request until the cluster group had all the appropriate information from the relevant professionals. In addition, it was felt that the cluster group would be in a position to make a presentation to Council. The CE noted that a possible date for such a presentation was at the Economic Development Committee meeting on 19 May 2008. It was also agreed that further information on Strabane PIPS would be sought including details on their affiliations.
Letters of Condolence – Policy
A draft policy outlining the background, current procedures and recommended future criteria on the issuing of letters of condolence by Council, had been distributed for Members’ attention.
The CE said that the number of letters had been increasing, which he felt perhaps diluted the effect of the letters.
The BM outlined the suggested policy. She felt that the relationship to the deceased appeared to be getting more distant and she noted the need for consistency. She referred to the recommended procedures, which also reflected the current bereavement leave policy for staff. She welcomed comments from Members.
Members’ views included:
· Inclusion of deaths due to tragic circumstances
· Welcomed the report
· Condolence letters should mean something
· VIP status, sporting fraternities, Government officials
· Clergy, Heads of State
· Members raising individual cases
· Chairman to use his discretion
· Change ‘district’ to ‘area’ in relation to Councillors in order to cover other Councils e.g. Donegal County Council
· Members can use their own headed paper to send individual letters
· Communicating with Members via email in relation to deaths
On the proposal of Councillor McNulty, seconded by Councillor Hussey the policy was agreed in principle with the above views to be taken into consideration.
A draft copy of Snapshot Issue 10 had been distributed for Members’ attention and approval.
Councillor McNulty referred to the photograph of the proposed pedestrian bridge and queried if there was an image, which showed it in the intended approximate location.
Councillor Emery felt that clarification was needed on whether bottles tops should be left on or taken off for recycling purposes.
Burial Rights Grants
On the proposal of Councillor McHugh, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, forms of grant in respect of the following were signed and sealed on behalf of Council: -
Thomas Ivan McIvor
11 Church View
Donemana - 1 plot
Andrew Ivan McIvor
11 Church View
Donemana - 1 plot
Diane Rachel McIvor
6 Church View
Donemana - 1 plot
On the proposal of Councillor McGuire seconded by Councillor Emery the meeting went “into Committee”.
On the proposal of Councillor McNulty, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, the meeting went ‘out of committee’.
Any Other Business
Councillor McHugh asked for a letter to be sent to Roads Service to request that a crash barrier be installed at No. 67 Fyfin Road. He said that roads works were currently being undertaken at that location.
Councillor Kerrigan asked for a letter to be sent to Roads Service to request an extension to the removal of the banking by a further 3-4 metres at Erganagh Road, Castlederg. He felt that this would ensure improvements for exiting Erganagh Road.
Councillor Hussey noted that this may indeed be a developer-led scheme but felt that Roads Service could perhaps be influential with the developer.
WHSSB Inter Sectoral Collaboration Seminar
It was agreed that any Member wishing to attend the above seminar on 10 April 2008 at the Silver Birch Hotel, Omagh could do so.
Audit Committee Training
The CE reminded Members that the session with Steven Lindsay would be held on 13 March 2008 at 2.00pm at the Council offices.
Councillor Hussey tendered his apologies for this meeting.
In response to Councillor Barr, the CE said that other Councils would be required to take similar steps.
Donegal County Council – Border Roads
In response to Councillor Foley, the BM confirmed that a letter had been sent to Donegal County Council but a response had not yet been received.
The meeting concluded at 9.30 p.m.
DATED this 11th day of MARCH 2008
Clerk & Chief Executive
DATED this 8th day of APRIL 2008
Chairman of the Council